In 1987, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Colgate Palmolive factory in Compiègne opened its doors to four photographers for them to have a cross vision of the company. This assignment will be the subject of the book The Factory, but was not made a public exhibition. As part of the biennial Usimages, three of the photographers, John Vink, Thierry Girard, and Richard Kalvar, have agreed to reedit and present these images again.
If I kept Richard Kavlar for the end, it’s because he’s the only one to have reintroduced humans in the angular and random setting of the factory. Portraits, but fleeting. The snapshot of life, work attitudes; the tranquility of men when they bend over a workbench, an engine; camaraderie, – seized in an absolute natural way.
One sometimes wonders why men love their work? The answer is here, in the simplicity of these images. There is a sense of connivance, a habit, a taste for useful acts, measured and effective gestures. Such is work. “François Nourissier of the Académie Goncourt
Born in New York in 1944, Richard Kalvar, after studying English literature at Cornell University, began working as a fashion photographer’s assistant before moving to Paris. A founding member of the Viva agency, he joined the Magnum agency a few years later, and became the agency vice president and president of Europe. www.magnumphotos.com
L’Usine, Contrejour edition, 1987, preface by François Nourissier from the Académie Goncourt.
Usimages – Richard Kalvar
From April 27 to June 15, 2019
La Coulée Verte / The Media Library in Saint-Leu-d’Esserent
Place de la Mairie, Creil Sud Oise